Acoustic Microphones are used to detect and amplify the noise created by leaks in pressurised pipes. They are an essential part of any plumber’s and leak detection team’s operating equipment and are used to pinpoint exact locations of suspected leaks. This is the last and most important step in the three stage leak detection process of Localise, Locate and Pinpoint.
Acoustic microphones are commonly referred to as water leak detectors or water leak detection equipment. This water leak detection equipment consists of an amplifier, headphones and different microphones. This is a quick overview on the different options available.
The amplifier is critical as this is the producer of sound and user interface. Not all amplifiers use digital technology and it can be very challenging to find a low frequency or quiet leak with an analogue amplifier. An amplifier that provides a read out with current and previous leak noise values enhances the efficiency of the operator significantly and an amplifier with filters enables leaks to be found when there is background noise that would normally have blocked the sound of the leak. Not all filters are the same though, some manufacturers have pre-selected wide band filters that don’t work well in common circumstances. The perfect amplifier would have user selectable filters enabling the user to select the low cut-off and high cut-off. Both the Gutermann Aquascope 3 and Aquascope 550 are digital, with good filters and provide read outs of current and previous sound levels.
The electronic listening stick is used to listen on valves, hydrants, taps, accessible pipes and water meters to localise the leak position. There is also a tripod foot accessory that is fitted to the handle after removing the rods. This can be used to pinpoint leaks in concrete slabs and walls. There is no wind protection so the tripod arrangement it is not very effective outside on a windy day and the long body of the handle is not as comfortable to work with in walls and tight spaces as the pocket mic. Pipe insulation can protect the rods on a windy day, making this the perfect choice for leak detection teams sounding point to point most of the day to localise leak positions.
The pocket microphone is perfect for pinpointing leaks in buildings and can also be used by leak detection teams that follow the path of their pipes listening for leaks at 2 meter intervals. It is a low profile with a rubber shroud to reduce the noise from wind but it is not fully wind protected. The smaller size makes it more comfortable for use finding leaks in walls and perfect for maintenance plumbers. There is an option to install a couple of rods to use it as a listening stick, having a wider base it is not as comfortable to hold as the electronic listening stick and there can be a little more wind noise. In a plumbing application, most of the leak localisation process will be inside and will usually be complete in 30 minutes, so this is not a significant inconvenience.
The ground microphone is a much bigger and more powerful microphone designed for external use. It is completely wind protected and perfect for listening for leaks under roads and footpaths.
The Aquascope 3 listening stick is perfect for water authorities and leak detection teams performing leakage surveys for water authorities.
The Pocket Microphone leak detector kit is perfect for the maintenance plumber. It has absolute portability, flexibility and an affordable price-tag while keeping the power and functionality of an AquaScope 3.